Up for sale, a 1963 Gibson ES-330TDC in collector-grade condition and in perfect working order, finished in vibrant Cherry nitro lacquer and complete with the original hardshell case. This early example of the ES-330 is one of the very first to feature nickel hardware, with a rare transitional no-wire ABR-1 bridge with original nylon saddles.
Highlighting both the clarity and note attack of maple and the smooth, airy quality of the fully hollow construction, this Gibson has a sweet natural acoustic tone that translates well through the pickups. The P-90s have a glassy sparkle and dynamic, percussive cut with a rich, textured midrange character and plenty of bark when you dig in. And while the bridge pickup has a snappier, slightly more aggressive quality, the neck pickup is big and broad, retaining the articulation necessary for complex chording. The guitar is featherweight at 6lbs. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar and strung with 10-46 strings, this ES-330TDC is dialed in for optimal action and spot-on intonation.
The one-piece mahogany neck has a slender C profile carve with appreciably more roundness as you travel up the fretboard, measuring .800" deep at the 1st fret and 1.005" at the 12th. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard retains the original medium jumbo frets which have their full factory height and well-rounded crowns, showing virtually no wear. The original nylon nut measures 1 11/16" in width. On the headstock, the original Kluson Deluxe single line tuners are intact and extremely clean, turning smoothly and holding pitch well with stock white plastic buttons.
The electronics are completely stock, with untouched solder joints, original CentraLab pots that date to the 6th week of '63, and stock tone caps. The nickel hardware is positively gleaming, including the very rare transitional no-wire ABR-1 bridge with nylon saddles. The original nickel pickup covers and trapeze tailpiece round out the hardware, and the plastic parts are equally well-kept with gleaming black reflector cap knobs and a replacement wide-bevel five-ply pickguard. The bold "ES-330TDC" stamp is very bold, visible through the F hole.
Cosmetically, this guitar is quite stunning. The Cherry nitro lacquer is glossy and vibrant, completely unfaded, with no tan line beneath the pickguard. The nitro lacquer finish is 100% original save for targeted lacquer overspray between the top and back binding on the treble side lower bout, where there is a very slight repaired split in the maple laminate. There is extremely faint vertical lacquer checking across the body, a touch of cable worming on the back and back of the headstock, and just a few additional faint finish scratches and scuffs consistent with very careful use on the body as a whole. A strap button has been added to the neck heel, and the neck profile is nigh flawless save for one small mark on the bass-side shoulder behind fret 6.
The original Lifton case is included. This mid-line case has more structure than a traditional chipboard, with an arched top and the same mottled brown textured covering seen on '50s Gibson cases. The case has some brown duct tape along the lower bout edge of the lid, with the original handle and latches intact as well as the majority of the leather trim.